We’ve gone on enough about dwindling midsize sedan sales here in the U.S.; so we’ll skip that here, and just say that some carmakers are still forging ahead with new family-sized four-door entries, including Nissan. Indeed, Nissan’s 6th generation 2019 Altima is now ready for the road. So, let’s find out how much of an impact the all-new Altima can have in a SUV world.
The Nissan Altima has had its ups and downs over the years; looking up at Honda Accord and Toyota Camry just like the rest of the midsize sedan segment. But, it has also gathered quite a following over its previous five generations thanks to its high reliability and affordable pricing. 2019 launches a new chapter, and with it comes a host of meaningful changes.
There’s a full-frontal Maxima attack for starters, with an even larger version of what Nissan calls their V-motion grille. The new Altima even shares the Maxima’s floating roof look; though the black plastic trim pieces that makes it happen, just blends in with the Super Black paint of this Edition One. It’s a limited release trim package that includes 19-inch dark alloy wheels, rear spoiler, unique lighting and badging outside; while the interior gets special floor mats, illuminated sill plates, as well as exclusive Nissan Concierge service.
The space inside has gotten a little more open feeling, and designers seem to have come from the same school as Kia and Hyundai, as there’s a very similar infotainment touchscreen shape and placement on top of the dash. That’s not a complaint, as it is in easy line of sight and works very well. We’re big believers in Nissan’s Zero gravity seats, providing some of the best comfort you’ll find in the midsize family car field. Trunk space is also quite good at 15.4 cubic-ft.
Base engine is a naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter as before, but it has been highly updated; gaining 9-horsepower to 188. But there’s something even more special available, Infiniti’s VC-Turbo. This variable compression 2.0-liter I4 outputs 248-horsepower and 280 lb-ft. of torque, and replaces the V6 in the lineup.
Both engines are saddled with Nissan’s latest Xtronic CVT; but for the first time, all-wheel-drive will now be available in an Altima. You can add it for $1,350 more, though right now, only to the base 2.5-liter.
The basic chassis is the same as before, but there’s an all-new suspension bolted to it, independent struts up front, multi-link in the rear; as well as additional chassis reinforcements, and new monotube rear shocks. Combine all of that with a new Integrated Dynamics Module, and you have another way that the Altima is very close to the Maxima.
We found plenty of grip through the cones; from a chassis that behaves light on its feet, not at all bloated as before; yet it also feels very solid. Nissan’s Intelligent Trace Control uses selective braking to aid on turn-ins, and mostly does so without being obvious or intrusive.
Just as impressive, is the response from the VC-Turbo. It leaps off the line, roaring to go; delivering plenty of torque, and hitting 60 in 6.1-seconds.However, from there, the CVT throws a wet blanket on the process; enter droning engine noise, somewhat alleviated by simulated shifts, and an overall lazy attitude towards power delivery.
Yet numbers don’t lie. 14.6-seconds at 98 miles-per-hour in the ¼-mile is quite notable for the family car; and a big second and a half quicker than the last 4-cylinder Altima we tested.
Automatic Emergency braking is standard on Altima, and it performed well in our barrier tests. It can also be outfitted with automatic rear braking and Nissan’s ProPILOT Assist hands-on-the-wheel semi-autonomous driving system.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 2.0-liter are 25-City, 34-Highway, and 29-Combined; we averaged a quite good 32.4 miles-per-gallon on Regular. For an Energy Impact Score that’s slightly above average at 11.4-barrels of yearly petroleum consumption with 5.1-tons of CO2 emissions.
Altima pricing starts at $24,645 for the for the 2.5-liter, $30,045 for VC-Turbo. So, if a much better than traditional family sedan driving experience is what you’re after, you’ll get a healthy dose of style to go along with it, in the 2019 Nissan Altima.
Engine: 2.0 liter
Torque: 280 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 6.1 seconds
1/4 mile: 14.6 seconds @ 98 mph
EPA: 25 mpg city / 34 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 11.4 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 5.1 tons/yr